Governor Steve Bullock, First Lady Lisa Bullock, and the Montana Commission on Community Service today recognized the 2019 recipients of the ServeMontana and First Lady School Nutrition awards. These awards are presented annually to outstanding community volunteers, organizations, and schools for their service to Montana.
“Each year when I present these awards, I’m humbled and inspired by the folks who choose to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others,” said Governor Bullock. “This service is not only the bedrock of our communities, it builds up future generations to also believe in the power of giving back.”
Joining Governor and First Lady Bullock was Kevin Myhre, Chair of the Montana Commission on Community Service, and Dan Ritter, Director of the Governor’s Office of Community Service. They presented seven ServeMontana Awards to outstanding community volunteers and organizations who, through their dedication and commitment to service, have greatly enhanced civic life in Montana. Over 60 individuals and organizations were nominated by the public to receive a ServeMontana Award. Award recipients were selected by the Montana Commission on Community Service through a review process.
Additionally, First Lady Bullock presented the First Lady School Nutrition Awards to schools that encourage success for all students in Montana through the initiation and continued support of school nutrition programs. Recipients were selected in partnership with Montana No Kid Hungry, Montana Office of Public Instruction, and the Governor’s Office.
“It is an honor to recognize so many people who understand the importance of fighting hunger in Montana and whose heroic daily efforts ensure our kids are fed,” said First Lady Bullock. “My hope is that other schools in Montana will follow in the footsteps of these dedicated food service staff, and that soon, every student in Montana will have access to healthy school meals.”
2019 ServeMontana Award recipients:
Neil Weare — Missoula As a Foster Grandparent with Senior Corps at Missoula Aging Services, Neil has volunteered over 10,797 hours of his time to mentoring students in Missoula’s Head Start Program. He is dedicated to helping students succeed and works with them compassionately and enthusiastically to help them be the best they can be.
Karen Grosz — Billings Karen is dedicated to increasing support for Child Protective Services workers and children/families in the foster care system. She has donated countless hours to improving the quality of services for young children, including hosting multiple family art nights for low-income and at-risk families and launching a social media effort to allow people in the community to engage in peer-to-peer donations and support for children in the foster care system.
Jackie Bird — St. Marie For the past thirteen years, Jackie has been putting together care packages for military men and women. She has spent countless hours rounding up items, soliciting donations, tracking down names and addresses, packaging the items, and then sending them overseas. She has dedicated hours of her time to fundraising, purchasing needed items, sharing her story, and organizing everything for shipment.
Gary Peterson — Great Falls Gary is a dedicated community volunteer at Lincoln Elementary School, serving two hours every day at the school. He plays math games with kindergarteners, works with students one-on-one, and tutors 6th grade students in math. The teachers he works with applaud his dependability and willingness to work with kids regardless of the task or student’s ability.
Bill Gillespie — Toston A lifelong community volunteer, Bill has done everything from serving in the American Legion Color Guard helping lay fellow veterans to rest to helping with historical and cultural preservation projects in Radersburg. He served twenty years on the Broadwater County Rural Volunteer Fire Department. He is an unwavering contributor to his country, community, church, family, brothers-in-arms, friends, and neighbors.
Rose Park Elementary PTA — Billings The PTA at Rose Park Elementary has dedicated their time and service for the past year to provide an inclusive playground for all children in Billings. The PTA has already raised $229,258 toward the inclusive playground and plans to raise even more. Through it all, the parents of the Rose Park PTA have continued to provide students and staff At Rose Park Elementary with amazing support.
Augusta Ambulance — Augusta At any time if there is a need, the members of the all-volunteer ambulance service in Augusta leave their jobs to respond to a call. They stand by at football games and the Augusta Rodeo. They participate in wilderness rescues and sit with people who have just lost a loved one. They strive to ensure that members of the Augusta area have emergency medical services when they need them.
2019 First Lady School Nutrition Awards recipients:
School Breakfast Champion Award: Central Elementary School—Sidney
Wholesome School Menu Award: Gardiner Public School District
School Nutrition Innovation Award: Kalispell Public Schools
School Nutrition Team of the Year: Wolf Point School District
For awardee descriptions and photos, please visit serve.mt.gov.
The 2019 ServeMontana and First Lady School Nutrition awards were sponsored by the Montana Credit Union Network.
The Governor’s Office of Community Service expands and promotes National Service and volunteerism in Montana and engages citizens in service and emergency preparedness.